We would pass the talking stick around and one by one, a nervous guy would fidget, tug at his collar and stammer through this week’s trials and tribulations on the road to, I don’t know where, but it sure as hell wasn’t here.
When the talking stick landed in George’s lap, he stood up and the room took notice. He was broad shouldered, cocky and wore a blonde crew cut. He was shaped like a refrigerator, all hard angles and cool.
“I’m not a father,” he said and the room of enraptured men replied “That’s OK!”
“I can’t say I’ve ever been married,” he continued and the room shouted “Good for you!”
“When I told my mother I was gay, she said you must get it from your father’s side,” he said and the applause was so thunderous that you would have thought that God had just farted.
When the meeting was over, word went around that perhaps we should all just walk over to the local bar and continue the support over a libation of our choosing, give us a chance to talk in a less formal setting, which was code for “hook-up.” The apple-tinis, cosmos and chardonnays were cast aside for something more manly seeming, like beer, in the presence of “box boy.” The appellation was justified, as later we would learn that in addition to being shaped like a box, he also sold them for a living.
I was the lucky one who nabbed his number, or he nabbed mine. In any case I ended up speaking with him on the phone for an hour or two that night replying “uh-huh” and “you don’t say,” while he told me what a catch he was.
“I’m looking for something long term,” he said.
“So am I,” I replied.
When I met him the following Sunday at his home he wanted to show me his hobby, which was a collection of vintage washing machines in his basement. Now, most people would begin to second guess a relative stranger’s invitation to voluntarily venture into their basement to take a gander at their “hobby,” but I decided to find it cute and quirky. It wasn’t like he held up a rag and asked me if it smelled like chloroform.
We never made it to the basement. We hardly made it from the sofa and we never made it to a second date. I was foolish. He just wanted to wash a quick load. Maybe we were both looking for something long-term. It just wasn’t with each other